Archive for January 11th, 2010

Stephen King Photo Credit: Tabitha King


I really identify with a few sentences in Stephen King’s Duma Key, which I’m plowing through with pleasure (it’s a doorstopper at 600 + pages).  They’re spoken by the narrator, who’s living in an isolated house on a beach while trying to heal his mind and body from a bloody, mutilating, very Stephen King-type accident.  (And King should know, the poor man, since he himself was the victim in a grim pedestrian/car accident.)

“I never doubted something was happening to me…Because of the quiet, mostly…  I saw no one and spoke to no one but myself.  The extraneous dropped away almost entirely, and when that happens, you begin to hear yourself clearly.  And clear communication between selves — the surface self and the deep self is what I mean — is the enemy of self-doubt.  It slays confusion.”

King’s description reminds me of the time I spent alone on the island beach in Panama and that I described in my Robinson Crusoe entry.   Living in peaceful solitude for a handful of days really did slay some confusions and self-doubts in me.   But pretty soon I’m gonna need another such escape.  The world gets too noisy and intrusive and tiring to take on all the time non-stop.

As for the Ninjas in my title…

While searching for a TV show to exercise by the other day I spotted my parkour instructors Matt and Jake.  That gave me a small thrill.  “Matt and Jake are on TV!” I cried out, but only my cat was around to hear me and he didn’t give a rat’s ass.  I knew last August that both of them had gone to L.A. to try out for some kind of ninja competition show and that they didn’t win because they came back disappointed.  I also knew what they must have gone through since I’d caught glimpses of the original Japanese version while channel surfing (give me a TV remote and I turn into an ADD-crazed thumb-pumping fiend).

Anyway, it turns out that there’s a cable channel called G4 that carries the series American Ninja Warrior, and for the last couple weeks it’s been showing the series in re-runs.  Seems that hundreds of muscle-bound contestants had turned up along with Matt and Jake to run some freaky tough obstacle courses.  This meant swinging from ropes and bars and running up  a steep concave slope and hopping along walls and other gravity-defying stunts, and all the while trying not to take humiliating tumbles into tanks of water.   The vast majority of the contestants didn’t even come close to finishing dry and unscathed, let alone making it to the top rounds.

But Matt and Jake made it.

There they were, sitting with the top twenty because that’s how damn good they are.  Sure, I can see how they really wanted to make the top ten so that they could get free tickets to Japan where they would compete in lots more grueling, punishing courses designed to slaughter even the best parkour athletes.  But why be disappointed?  Hell, if I had made the top twenty I would’ve been crowing with triumph.

By the way, there’s also a show called Women of Ninja Warrior. Their obstacle courses require only a little upper body strength and a whole lot of balance and speed.  I found myself wondering if I myself should try out.

I’d have to be crazy.